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Life is an infinite continuum, feeding on its own death. Our mortality, real and imagined, lives within. We can always see these truths with a discerning eye. The mirrored images that seem like two, are but one, a parallel universe whose paths cross like a wisp of wind, we are all of one time, like prose and poems written in separate centuries, but of the same struggle. There, always there, truth never hides, except for those who don’t seek it  for fear of what they might find. From light to dark we fly in different directions though toward the same destination. What matters is what we do on our flight. Do we see the paths of leaves as they float on the pond, the reflection of the sky beyond, and the trees, who have now shed their leaves but will reflect full in the spring; beneath the leaves, the roots of the lily pads  and the stare of a wary carp who looks from his world as we do from ours? We must find time on our journey to read, play a game, or simply sit and wonder at the marvels around us, for death will come in its own time…

Mighty Christmas


Blog Posted:12/9/2012 10:10:00 AM

Oddly enough, understanding the original meaning behind this song, one of the most misunderstood carols of Christmas, also helps explain one of the most misused words describing Christmas itself. What Americans hear when they listen to “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is not anything like what the English peasants meant when they first sang this song more than 500 years ago. Because of how wonderfully it told the Christmas story, the song even earned a prominent spot in Dickens’s classic novel A Christmas Carol, [—because of the author’s understanding of the true meaning—] add?? Or add why you put this in] and if people today fully understood its unique lyrics too, most would probably designate “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” as one of the most profound and meaningful hymns in the world.

Like so many early Christmas songs, this carol was written as a direct reaction to the music of the 15th Century Church. During this period, the songs of organized religion were usually written in Latin and their melodies were somber and dark, offeringsingers and listeners little inspiration or joy. In fact, though few admitted it in public, most church members secretly disliked the accepted religious songs of the day. Yet the laymen of the time had no power over the way they worshipped and had to accept things as they were. So, while they continued to go to worship, they created their own church music outside the walls of the cathedrals and chapels. In this way, the peasant class led a quiet rebellion against the tone of religious music by writing religious folks songs that were light, lively and penned in common language. Their Christmas folk songs became the foundation of what are now knows as Christmas carols.

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” was the most famous and most loved of all the early carols. Written with an upbeat melody and speaking of the birth of Jesus in joyful terms, the song may have shocked early church leaders, but it charmed their flocks. Not only did they sing to this carol, they danced to it.

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’s” lyrics reveal that the song’s unknown writer knew the story of Jesus’ birth well. He included the high points of the gospel throughout the carol’s verses. The writer also fully understood the power of Christ and what His arrival meant to all who embraced it. In the case of this writer, comprehending the full and personal meaning of the birth of the Son of God brought forth enthusiasm and joy simply not found in any other church songs of the period. Though it might have been rejected by the church leaders, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” better presented the message of the first Christmas and the life of Jesus than did many of the songs used in formal worship of the day.

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” was sung for hundreds of years before it was finally published in the nineteenth century. By that time—thanks in part to Queen Victoria’s love of carols—the song found favor in the Anglican Church. Soon even the protestant English clergy of the Victorian era were enthusiastically teaching “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” to their parishioners. Crossing the ocean to both Europe and America, the carol became a favorite throughout the Christian world and it is still sung in much the same way as it was five hundred years ago. The only problem is that few of today’s singers fully understand the beginning of each of the carol’s many verses. This is a result of the evolution of the English language.

When modern people say “Merry” Christmas, the word merry means happy. When “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” was written, merry had a very different meaning. Robin Hood’s “Merry Men” might have been happy, but the merry that described them meant great and mighty. Thus, in the Middle Ages, a strong army was a merry army, a great singer was a merry singer, and a mighty ruler was a merry ruler.

So when the English carolers of the Victorian era sang, “merry gentlemen,” they meant great or mighty men. Ye means you, but even when translated to “God rest you mighty gentlemen,” the song still makes very little sense. This is due to another word that has a much different meaning in today’s world and a lost punctuation mark.

The word rest in “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” simply means keep or make. Yet to completely uncover the final key to solving this mystery of meaning, a comma needs to be placed after the word “merry.” Therefore, in modern English, the first line of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” should read “God make you mighty, gentlemen.” Using this translation, the old carol suddenly makes perfect sense, as does the most common saying of the holidays, “Merry Christmas.”

You might wonder why, when most didn’t fully understand the real meaning of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” the old carol remained popular. The world’s love for this song is probably due to its upbeat musical piece paired with the telling of the most upbeat story the world has ever known. Those who sing it naturally get caught up in the celebratory mood of the message and embrace the same kind of emotions that those first to visit the baby Jesus must have felt. As the angel told the shepherds, “I bring you news of great joy.” That joy and the power of faith can be felt and experienced in every note and word of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” You just have to know how to translate the words into the language of the day

 to have a very Mighty Christmas!

Ace Collins

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  1. Date: 12/10/2012 9:19:00 PM
    My dear friend Craig! Happy Holidays and a wonderful 2013!! All the best! See you next year!

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  1. Date: 12/10/2012 9:48:00 AM
    Thanks for the information, Craig! I've always liked this carol, but now I can look at it with new eyes and meaning. Love, Kim

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  1. Date: 12/9/2012 5:38:00 PM
    Huzzah for a personal relationship with God!

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  1. Date: 12/9/2012 11:09:00 AM
    Hurrah for the peasants. They paved the way for upbeat Christmas songs!!

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My Past Blog Posts

 
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Chopped III
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Date Posted: 11/9/2014 7:40:00 AM
Chopped I
Date Posted: 11/1/2014 12:31:00 PM
Kevin Kern Responded (Lyrics)
Date Posted: 10/31/2014 9:45:00 AM
For Whom Do We Write
Date Posted: 10/23/2014 4:27:00 PM
A Heads Up
Date Posted: 10/18/2014 1:48:00 PM
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Date Posted: 9/27/2014 4:25:00 PM
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Date Posted: 9/21/2014 12:54:00 PM
Lyric Contest Judged
Date Posted: 9/1/2014 12:48:00 PM
Something Special
Date Posted: 8/27/2014 9:05:00 PM
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Date Posted: 8/18/2014 4:18:00 PM
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Date Posted: 8/12/2014 8:10:00 PM
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Contest Edits
Date Posted: 7/13/2014 2:30:00 PM
Goethe Stanza Contest Judged
Date Posted: 7/11/2014 10:41:00 AM
Our Cover Girl !!
Date Posted: 7/7/2014 4:53:00 PM
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Date Posted: 7/4/2014 12:30:00 PM

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12/18/2014 Trusting The Flame Versepassion,
12/4/2014 Silent Might Verseinspirational,
12/4/2014 Clarence Odbody Clerihewfunny,
12/2/2014 the gift of the Magi Free verselove,
11/29/2014 monoku 1 Monokunature,
11/26/2014 Empty Hearts Versehope,love,
11/24/2014 The Debutante's Ball Rhymedance,
11/22/2014 Write of Love Free verselove,war,
11/19/2014 Applause in the Wind Crystallineseasons,
11/15/2014 November Wind Crystallinenature,november,
11/10/2014 A Conspicuous Collage Rhymedeath of a friend,
11/10/2014 Your Smile Free versedeath of a friend,
11/7/2014 a lonely row Verselonely,love,
11/6/2014 Holidays Cinqkuholiday,sad,
11/4/2014 Forever Young Sonnetdaughter,grief,
11/3/2014 Almost Gone Rhymelife,
11/3/2014 Pursuing Christus Free versespiritual,
11/2/2014 In The End Blank versefaith,love,
10/30/2014 Leftover Heaven Epulaeryufood,
10/28/2014 Found and Lost Free verselife,
10/27/2014 On Niagra's Bridal Veil Falls Versenature,
10/19/2014 One Less Hill Free versememory,
10/16/2014 Her Laughter Verselife,love,
10/15/2014 Pie Eyed Rhymefunny,
10/12/2014 The Stage Blank verselife,
10/11/2014 Light Years Versespace,
10/6/2014 Hostage Rispettodepression,war,
10/6/2014 November Dreams Sijoautumn,
10/1/2014 Lights of Night Free verselife,
9/30/2014 Pickett's Charge Blank versewar,
9/26/2014 Eden Sonnetlife,
9/25/2014 Keepers of the Flame Verselife,
9/21/2014 You Were There Rhymedeath,love,
9/19/2014 The Light Keeper Verselife,
9/19/2014 southward, wing on wing Haikuimagination,seasons,
9/14/2014 Poetry Is Born Free versemother,
9/7/2014 On the Cusp of Winter Free verseautumn,
9/7/2014 The Old Man Rhymelife,nature,
9/5/2014 I'll Leave You My Tears Rhymelove,lyric,song,
9/5/2014 Peal the Bells Blank versetime,
9/2/2014 The Looking Glass Rhymeintrospection,
8/31/2014 How Could I Know Trioletfunny,
8/31/2014 Autumn Alouette Verseautumn,
8/26/2014 A Note To My Sis Free verselife,
8/21/2014 Morning's Veil Ottava rimamorning,nature,
8/19/2014 Foodles Footlefunny,
8/18/2014 The Lady Rhymefantasy,love,
8/16/2014 No Matter Where I Roam Rhymetravel,
8/13/2014 a tropical morn Haikunature,
8/9/2014 Perfect Free verselife,
8/9/2014 The Muted Rose Iambic Pentameterinspirational,
8/8/2014 Until I Hold You Near Rhymewar,
8/6/2014 Night Owl Rhymenature,
8/4/2014 The Final Call Versedeath,
8/4/2014 Alauda Versenature,
8/4/2014 A Conch Shell Calls Quatrainintrospection,
8/3/2014 Lyrics to Peter White's Life Story Rhymesong,
7/31/2014 Never Really Gone Rhymelove,
7/31/2014 new moon Haikusummer,
7/28/2014 in the summer clouds Haikulife,rain,
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7/19/2014 Paradise Lost Sonnetlove,war,
7/18/2014 it isn't there Senryuintrospection,
7/16/2014 The Scent of Water Sonnetlove,
7/14/2014 The Doorway Verselife,
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7/3/2014 Dorian Grey Abridged Quatrainfantasy,
6/30/2014 Born A Smile Sonnetlife,
6/26/2014 Life's Path Verselife,
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6/5/2014 Summer Love Sijolove,
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My Photos


Fav Poems

PoemTitleFormCategories
Violin Personificationdeath,love,rose,
Evening Walk Free verseintrospection,life,nature
The Sowing Free versedevotion,
Why I Weep Italian Sonnetnatureme,
LONG DISTANT DREAM Rhymenature,
An Invitation to Dance Sonnetmusic,nature,
Secrets of the Stream Free verseintrospection,nature
Grandpa Coupletchildhood,loss,sadold,chi
Double Phantasy Free verseloss,mystery,sad,
Something of a Dreamer Free verselife,
Silver Strands Biolove,mother,me,silver,
Montage Poetry Lyrichappiness,history,uplifti
A Mutual passion Blank verseromance,longing,longing,l
Spring Returned Rondeauhappiness,love,people,sou
Her Name Is January Personificationimagination,nature,new ye
Wind Power Rhymenature,
Gold Star Narrativechildhood,war,war,star,bl
Circle of Life Rhymedeath,introspection,life,
New England Rhymenature,seasons,
If Ever Sonnetfaith,hope,inspirational,
THE HOURS Sonneton writing and words,time
EULOGY FOR THE ELDON GALLERY, WATERLOO Free verseart,life,places,sad,grand
In Strangler's Wood Rhymedeath,
Bewitched Villanellelove,passion
FIRST CHERUBIC CHANCE Lyricmystery,uplifting
Wait Raven,I am coming Free versedeath
OUTGROWN Free versedaughter,life,nostalgia,d
Conquering Rainbows Free versefantasy,for children,me,r
UNFORGOTTEN Versechildhood,hope,nostalgia,
THE MIDWIFE OF MYROLFE Free versefantasy,
The Missing Sonnetdeath,loss,
AT THE BUS DEPOT Verseallegory,
Immersion Free verseintrospection,life,me,
MY NYLON BIRD Dizainhappiness,education,
The Jaded Eye Sonnetdeath,love,heart,heart,
Amongst the Dross Sonnetdepression,introspection,
Closer Free versehope,life,love,peace,blue
MY SEX Free verselife,nature,people,men,wr
A Solstice Free versedeath,faith,religion,
Sunlit Ambrosia Free versedaughter,father,happiness
Tanglaw -- Light Free versededication,life,love,moth
One More Time Curtal Sonnetfamily,
Black Diamond Night Free verseintrospection,life,nature
Haste Quintain (Sicilian)faith,fear,introspection,
Cornflower Blue Free versehope,life,love,mystery,dr
Bastard Sun Personificationnature,parody,
Ballet is Poetry Free verseart,music,
EAST OF EDEN Sonnetfaith,nature,people,me,
SHADOWLANDS Free versedeath,faith,grief,history
SO Many Questions Quatrainromance,moon,
FLEETING VISUALS Free verseadventure,art,
LONELY Free verselife,lonely,me,people,swe
POETRY IS AN ECHO Rispettoon writing and words,me,
Poe and I Rispettolonely,lost love,
Spring's Sweet Reality Free versedream,nature,spring,dream
The Angel Inside Rhymeallegory,angel,art,beauti
Kiss the Rain Quatraingirl,people,rain,romantic
A Sepia Recollection Free versefamily,grandfather,
The Old Wooden Bench Sonnetimagination,old,old,
Every now and then Lyriclove,miss you,
NIGHT STROLL Free verseinspiration,nature,
SYLVIA Crown of Sonnetslife,poets,writing,
Her Requiem Rhymedeath,faith,mother,
O' Middle Child Free versei love you,love,son,
And Luke Williams Has Gone Celibate Free verselove,
WELCOMING A NEW TUNE Free versefarewell,how i feel,life,
Cinder Girl Rhymelovelove,
THE OLD OAK TREE Free verseautumn,life,spring,summer
Grandpa's Study Free versefamily,life,loss,peace,
Love Poem - 29 Free verselife,love,passion,peace,w
Passing Trains in Winter Rain Rhymedepression,
A Tale of Fire and Ice Rhymedream,fire,love,lust,
Back to Lost Rhymehistory,
Verses for Vivian Lyricdepression,
The Garden of Adonis Lyrics Rhymelyric,song,
The Pooka Sonnetanimal,horror,mythology,
The Swan Free versebeautiful,romantic,wife,
Una and the Lion Monorhymeanimal,girl,happiness,inn
Sleepless Night Dramatic Verse (Verse Drama)anger,death,farewell,memo
AS FATHER IS TO HIS DAUGHTER Free versefather,introspection,word
Midsummer dance on parchment paper Free verseabsence,allegory,
The Soup Reich Free versesatire,slam,
Into the Gloaming Sonnetpeace,
THE OTHER-WISE Free verseart,introspection,
-----night train------ -reverse poem- Rhymegoodbye,lost love,sad lov
Doorways to Yesterday Free versememory,
Mother and Child Narrativeangel,baby,beautiful,birt
Mending life Free verseanalogy,
You Caught The Wind Free versedeath of a friend,nostalg
Sheol Dramatic Verse (Verse Drama)abuse,dark,evil,fantasy,f
SAFEWORD Sonnetlove,lust,
Aftermath Free versebaby,loss,winter,
Waterloo Bridge Ekphrasis (Ecphrasis)art,beauty,
Facets Of Loneliness Free verseloneliness,
Love never fades Rhymelonging,love,
Recalling Her Free versegrandmother,memory,
Small Gifts Quilted with Love Ghazal 
just like juliet Free verselove,
Christmas Magic Rhymeangel,child,christmas,god
Somber Days Free verseday,november,tree,

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